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Mohammad Sami: The Islamabad legend

For more than 16 years, captain after captain, have tried to find the formula to get the best out of Sami.

Ask Misbah, the Pakistani captain about Mohammad Sami. Words like express, erratic, and passive are likely to feature. Ask, Misbah captain Islamabad United about Mohammad Sami. Express, accurate and hostile would be the adjectives he might use.

How does a change of kit bring such disparity of performance? Sure PSL teams don’t feature 6 to 7 top quality batsmen like in International Cricket, but the quality is still high. He bowls at the start of the innings and at the death. All teams have quality openers and lower order hitters (mostly foreign). He looks overweight but is able to generate pace with accuracy and making it almost impossible to hit out.

Mohammad Sami, with Pakistan, is consistently inconsistent. A couple of decent deliveries, one cracker and 3 down the leg side or wide outside off. Misbah, the Pakistan captain does not know what fields to set. Sami, with Islamabad, is rarely off the line. At the start of the innings, he bowls short of good length and at the stumps. At the death, he goes fuller and tries to hit the timber. Misbah, the Islamabad Captain is assured that Sami will bowl to his fields. With Shane Watson and Ruman Raees, bringing variation, this combination has worked very well. The difference cannot be more pronounced.

For more than 16 years, captain after captain (including Misbah) have tried to find the formula to get the best out of Sami. From Imran Khan to Dave Whatmore, tried to make Sami the match winner he had the potential to be. So it is safe to negate that Wasim Akram’s presence is making the difference. There is a lot more to learn from a failed career than a successful one.

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Somebody needs to sit Sami down and ask him these questions. What is the formula that is making him tick in PSL? What were the coaches with Pakistan doing wrong? Would he go differently about it, if he had another chance? Will he become the bowler every thought he would be? I don’t think even Mohammad Sami knows the answer to these questions

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